03/27/2014 at 6:40 AM #49656StateFansKeymaster
2. Louisville will crumble: The Cardinals cruised through the American Athletic Conference tournament, beating a team by 61 points, and suddenly emerged as a sleeper Final Four pick heading into the NCAA tournament. Yet after two sloppy games, a tough second-round matchup vs. Manhattan and a low-scoring defensive war vs. Saint Louis, it is rather difficult to be confident. The defending champs aren’t nearly as good as they were last year. Last year top catalyst Russ Smith’s job was to score, but Peyton Siva got him his shots as an elite, unselfish point guard.
This year there are much bigger demands on Louisville’s best player, who went a combined 6-for-19 in two games in Orlando. If teams read the scouting report accurately, it goes something like this: Limit Smith, make others beat you. Montrezl Harrell has been a nice replacement for Gorgui Dieng and Luke Hancock has improved since last season, but there isn’t the same depth and point guard Chris Jones doesn’t give Smith the same type of luxury in relieving pressure.
4. Virginia will beat Michigan State: Here are two words to consider when trying to figure out No. 1 seed Virginia: Unselfish and patient. That’s coach Tony Bennett’s strict offense in a nutshell. Michigan State and Virginia run sagging man-to-man defenses that fluster opponents. And coach Tom Izzo is quick to credit UVa as “one of the best defensive teams in the country” based on the team yielding a nation-low 55.5 points per game. But it’s on offense where the Cavaliers have an edge. That’s not to say Virginia has any player with the same capability as an Adreian Payne or Gary Harris. But there are no me guys wearing navy and orange, and that goes a long way when most offenses have a tendency to get rushed during key spurts of the game. There’s no arguing Michigan State isn’t playing good basketball. But overlooking this Virginia team would be a mistake.03/27/2014 at 9:13 AM #49670WulfpackParticipant
The Lville/UK game will be epic. UK has found that gear. Loads of talent (potentially 7 NBA players). I have no idea who wins. Lville isn’t as good as they were last year but they they are still capable of winning it all.
This UVA/MSU is also a must see. Too bad both these games are played at the same time Friday night. As much as I love Bennett and this UVA team, it is hard to think an Izzo team playing well in March won’t prevail.
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